prisonHEALTH logo


Images courtesy of prison arts charity Koestler Arts.

prisonHEALTH is a group of multidisciplinary academics who deliver research to help improve health in detention.

prisonHEALTH exists to encourage high-quality scholarship, engagement and knowledge transfer regarding all aspects of mental and physical health, in and around prisons and detention sites. Prison health and safety matters morally and affects health and safety across societies, impacting upon prisoners, prisoners’ families, prison staff and communities.

Our work centres around three overlapping themes:

  1. Highlighting the harms and questioning the rates of imprisonment
  2. Improving conditions and treatment in detention and upon release
  3. Facilitating evidence-based debates about detention across broader audiences

prisonHEALTH has members across academic subjects and faculties, providing distinctive depth and breadth of approach and expertise. It hosts multiple funded research projects. Members are currently concentrated at the University of Nottingham and benefit tremendously from expert partners at organisations including the Nuffield Trust, University of Chester and University of Manchester. prisonHEALTH hosts regular discussion groups with internal and external speakers.

Train Over Troubled Waters, HM Prison Barlinnie
Different Walls, Different Perspective, HM Prison Littlehey
staff on team chat

Images: Train Over Troubled Waters, HM Prison Barlinnie; and Different Walls, Different Perspective, HM Prison Littlehey; courtesy of prison arts charity Koestler Arts.


Nested within prisonHEALTH, CRIMVOL is an international research network of academics interested in criminal justice voluntary sector (or non-profit) research.


CRIMVOL was established in 2017 by Philippa Tomczak with generous financial support from the British Academy (Rising Star Engagement Award), Leverhulme Trust (Early Career Fellowship), Socio-Legal Studies Association (Seminar Competition) and the University of Sheffield Centre for Criminological Research. CRIMVOL was championed at its inception by Professor Sir Anthony Bottoms (Universities of Cambridge and Sheffield) and Professor Joanna Shapland (University of Sheffield). In its early stages, CRIMVOL established a group of specialist early career researchers, drawn from England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Eire, Finland, Denmark, and Canada.

From 2018 to 2021, it was supported by Philippa Tomczak's Nottingham Research Fellowship. Core CRIMVOL monographs include: The Penal Voluntary Sector (Winner of the 2017 British Society of Criminology Book Prize) and Peer Mentoring in Criminal Justice.

CRIMVOL currently hosts bi-monthly 'working paper' seminars and contributes papers and panels to academic conferences internationally. 'Working paper' seminars provide a supportive space for discussions, networking, and career development. Members take on various roles in the network including chairing meetings, writing blogs, delivering papers, attending events, organising events and delivering personal development workshops. View our current membership.

CRIMVOL hosts regular discussion groups with internal and external speakers. 

All of our activities are intended to be welcoming, supportive and informal; and provide productive spaces for discussion and reflection.




University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD